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We wake up each day around noon with rakja, the strong local liquor that comes in a variety of flavors. That’s just to try to get the shakes under control, but doesn’t quite do the trick, and usually has to be followed by a few Lav beers. Some of us are still coming off X, or speed from the night before, quaffing entire liters of water. We’ll then decamp to a cafe, where we drink cappucino and more rakja, or vodka. Then we’ll grab some foo from a street vendor, on the way to finding a place for breakfast, which usually consists of lamb, pork or beef stew. We shower around 8pm, to get ready to go to the festival, which finally winds down around six or seven, then we sleep for a few hours, then start again. After four days of hard living, two observations:
My name is Vagabond, and I am an addict.
I’m addicted to nicotine. I’ve smoked and I’ve quit, but tobacco has a chemical hold on me that defies my attempts to rationaly abstain. It releases large quantities of dopamine directly into my cerebral cortex and I’m helpless to say no. My lungs are dying. My tissues are soaked with tar, formaldahyde, rat poison, and fiberglass.
I’m addicted to alcohol. Here there is no end to the drinking. There is no starting and stopping. We drink, and when we wake up hung over we address the issue by drinking more alcohol. I like the way it tastes. I like talking about it with my friends. I like being a snob about which scotch is best. I like drinking while I smoke. I like to smoke while I drink. I like the person I become when I drink. I like his swagger, I like his confidence, I like how assertive his voice gets. I don’t mind the headaches he brings.
I’m addicted to caffeine. I have it as soon as possible every morning, which in Serbia means espresso. I drink gallons of the stuff, partially to help kill the hangover, partly to help bring my edge back, partly because it reminds me of home. I drink five in one sitting, to the amazement of the waitresses in the cafe. Sometimes, I drink it before going to bed to help me relax.
I’m addicted to sugar. I put it in everything. I feel my teeth decay as I suck on extra sugar packets and feel the crystals disolve sweetly in my mouth. I pour sugar in my coffee, my beer, my rakja, my bacon, my eggs, my chicken sandwich, and slowly I feel the gradual onset of adult diabetes coming.
I’m addicted to the sun. I’ve lain naked on boulders by the side of the street in Istanbul on the banks of the Bosphorous, among shards of beer bottle glass, empty water bottles, dog shit and popcorn, lying on my shirt for hours to soak the solar radiation into my skin. My entire body is tanned with melanomas and the accumulation of a month of cellular damage and DNA transcription errors. I no longer use sunscreen. I no longer burn.
I’m addicted to carbohydrates. They go well with beer.
I’m addicted to sex, though fortunately I can’t find a dealer.
I’m addicted to street cafes, with their ashtrays on the tables and napkins strewn about the floor by the wind.
I’m addicted to Novi Sad, a city with a university, gorgeous fortress, pedestrian boulevard, park, beach, shopping mall, decommissioned army barracks, insane summer music festival, fruit market, and psychotically hospitable people.
I’m addicted not knowing where I’m going to sleep tonight.
I’m addicted to my own body.
I’m addicted to yours, too, my dear.
I’m addicted to waking up after noon, to going to bed after the sun rises.
I’m addicted to watching Moby perform on the banks of the Danube.
I’m addicted to leering at beautiful women,which in Serbia rapidly becomes a full-time job.
I’m addicted to love, to hate, to misery, joy, pain, pleasure, everything, EVERYTHING there is I want, all of it, the good and the bad, I want it by the bucketful, by the heaps.

I am addicted, finally, to life, though I’m discovering this somewhat late., I’ve awoken to life, and awoken to it, now cannot stop. Life is the worst drug of all. The most desperate, the most addictive, the most lethal. Any other addiction is only potentially lethal. You may overdose. You may crash your car while you’re drunk. You may give yourself lung cancer. Or you may not. But life, life is always lethal, if you live it long enough. To live as an addict of life is to know this, and live with your addiction anyway. To love the very lethality of life.

I am an addict. I have no intention of living any other way..

  1. Jason
    July 14, 2009 at 10:44 pm

    this is it!

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